Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Parent System: MAA-1 Piranha
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2003
Total Production: ?
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Description: The MAA-1 Piranha is the first air-to-air missile developed by Brazil for its Air Force and Navy replacing the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. Its development began in the middle 1990s, the original project was released in the late 1970s, and achieved some degree of operational capability in September 2002. It has been assumed that the missile achieved initial operational capability in 2003 coinciding with the last test campaign. The MAA-1 project has been handled by many Brazilian companies since its inception in the 1970s but finally was Mectron in the 1990s who developed the MAA-1 missile weapon system.
The MAA-1 Piranha is a supersonic, short-range air-to-air missile relying on infrared passive guidance which seeks the target's heat emissions coming primarily from the engine/s. The infrared sensor uses two colors to discriminate countermeasures from the real target and was supplied by South Africa's Kentron (Denel Group). The missile outstanding maneuverability allows it to perform at 50g. The Piranha performs as a 'launch and forget' missile, that means once launched the missile doesn't require input data coming the aircraft's sensors to hit its target, and a laser fuze is responsible for detonating the warhead. Externally, it is very similar to Rafael's Python 3 air-to-air missile and the aerodynamic configuration is near the same.
During the 1990s Mectron conducted Piranha missile test firings on the AT-26 Xavante, F-5 and Mirage III aircraft. The missile was qualified for operation on the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) F-5E in September 2002. Missile production began from 2003 onwards but no date has been confirmed yet. The Piranha air-to-air missile has also been integrated into Brazilian AMX training/light attack aircraft and could be integrated into many other aircraft used by the Brazilian Air Force in the near future.
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